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Gavin Newsom Is in Trouble. Could He Take Biden with Him?

Gov. Gavin Newsom in San Bernardino.
Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
August 23, 2021

Arnold Schwarzenegger was right. In March, no one thought that Governor Gavin Newsom had to worry about the Republican-led recall campaign against him. Back then, Newsom called the recall a “distraction,” waving it off as a pandemic hobby for anti-vaxxers and Trump goons. But Schwarzenegger, who was elected governor after the recall of Democrat Gray Davis in 2003, told Politico’s Carla Marinucci that, actually, Newsom had reason for concern. It doesn’t matter that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in California by a 2:1 margin, Schwarzenegger said, or that the state’s once-healthy Republican Party had shriveled into a reactionary collection of racist surfer dads in Orange County and MAGA Facebook moms in Modesto. What mattered, he argued, was the perception that Californians are working hard, with many falling behind because of the coronavirus pandemic, while the government in Sacramento fiddled. “That’s what I see as the similarities from 2003,” Schwarzenegger concluded. “It’s the same vibe.”